Several years ago, my sister got our family a beautiful Nativity scene complete with all the major players in the Christmas Story. Mary, Joseph, the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, the shepherd, and of course the three, jeweled wise men.
I am not a Bible scholar, just a mom who writes, but I do know that the Bible cannot contradict itself. This brings up an important discussion about the about the gift bearing travelers from the east.
The thee Magi make their first appearance at King Herod’s palace and spilled the beans about coming to worship and bring gifts to the King of the Jews. In the Matthew account of the event, they had been following his star until it lead them right to Jesus.
Herod was a little disturbed to find out the prophesied Christ had been born right under his nose. He asked the travelers when the star first appeared. They told him it had been two years. Two years! That is a long time to be following something that you are not sure of. I mean, after about 4 hours of riding on a camel, I would have been whining “Where’s the baby?”
Herod told the trio to find the baby and them let him know so he could worship him as well…. RIGHT! After the Magi saw the baby, they returned a different route to avoid the wicked ruler. So Herod decided to kill off all baby boys two years old and under, but by that time, Joseph had already fled the area with his family.
According to the Luke account, Mary and Joseph left Bethlehem and headed back to Nazareth after the baby Jesus was blessed by Simeon and Anna in the temple. They stayed in Bethlehem until Mary was considered ceremonially clean, a total of 41 days by Jewish Law. If the family made the trip home after they could travel, the wise men would have had their blessed encounter before Jesus was six weeks old at the most.
When you read both accounts side by side, there is only one reasonable explanation. The wise men saw the star way before Jesus was ever born. They most likely started gathering what they needed and headed in the starlight direction almost two years before the angels announced “Peace on Earth, good will toward men”.
They were on a mission. One of focus and purpose. Moving forward.
What a take-a-way! How many times do we wait until we see all the “I”s dotted and “T”s crossed before we dare to take a step? If the wise men had waited until they had more proof, they would have missed the event. Instead they set out on a journey of faith. How many times do we miss something because we are not willing to just move forward?
There is a star that shines in the distance, are we pursuing it?
Christmas is full of wonder.